Monday, August 13, 2007

Edward Pierce has this comment in the July 1 Guardian – CiF:

Edward Pierce

"If the Brussels treaty is the old constitution, it is so only because the old constitution, at its core, was a treaty! And despite some florid aspirational rhetoric, it was a very sensible treaty, asserting certain obvious standards of social morality and judicial rights, and concerned otherwise chiefly to establish limited majority voting. The purpose of that was to free the EU from a clogging immobility, best defined as stasis tempered by blackmail ”
Edward, the European Union is not clogged – it gallops through its business unhindered by current voting arrangements. If Edward Pierce did his homework he would know that this treaty is a solution in desperate search of a problem. Of course it has nothing to do with “efficiency” and everything to do with centralisation of power. According to the Economist:

‘Overall, the EU has been adopting new rules and regulations some 25% faster since enlargement, says a study published by Sciences Po in Paris. Its authors have tracked thousands of proposals, large and small. “Contrary to much received wisdom,” they conclude, “the data gathered shows that enlargement has not...brought Europe's machinery to a halt.”

When eurocrats call for more streamlined decision-making, what they mean is making life more frightening for laggards. Hans-Gert Pöttering, president of the European Parliament, is admirably frank: “If you have majority voting, you can overrule those who don't want to move ahead.”

If only everybody were so honest. There is a legitimate political argument to be had about picking out all or parts of the EU constitution to make Europe work in a different way. But it is dishonest to disguise this argument as a technical one about getting Europe to work at all.”
Edward Pierce obviously is happy to subscribe to the managerialist myths that contaminate both domestic and European politics but he needs to explain why (if these central organisations are so efficient) can’t their accounts be signed? Why does their policy product (agricultural policy, fisheries and yes the Euro) set the global standard for stupidity and failure?

“The old EU document was not rejected because it threatened liberties. It failed in France largely because a troublemaking politician, Laurent Fabius, campaigned, by way of a stunt, for a "No" vote, proclaiming "Europe is being weakened!" In the Netherlands, voting against was a handy way of raising another issue, an utterly unrelated and wholly national problem: Asian immigration. Both failures demonstrate the malignity of referendums.”
Apparently the French voted no for the wrong reasons as did the Dutch- interestingly no such complaint arises over the Spanish who voted he other way. Edward Pierce and others have decided that the French and Dutch have failed a comprehension test so they must now have their votes confiscated. It never occurs to the Pierces of this world that socialist voters and conservative voters combined against the constitution for the same reason – it removed powers from their domestic political structures and they were overwhelmingly opposed to that removal. Indicting the French and Dutch electorates with “false consciousness” and using that shibboleth as a justification for cancelling their past vote as well as abolishing their future vote is all very Soviet and clearly appeals to many unreconstructed nostalgics for that grim slave state.

“As for the "European threat", the problem is bumbling and lack of cohesion, not surveillance and super-state bullying. Leave that to Blairite home secretaries, wanting, as the EU doesn't, to know the colour of your iris, seeking, as the EU would not think of, to hold you incommunicado for 90 days after arrest.

Oddly, very few people doing outrage about Europe's totalitarianism offer significant resistance to New Labour's New Tsarism (although David Cameron, coming out against ID cards, is an honourable exception).”
Actually a great many of them do so – repeatedly. The press clearly has you in it’s thrall but the blogosphere is full of Eurosceptics opposed to the Security state – see Richard North and Tim Worstall and many, many others. Typically as an authoritarian you cannot concede any principled opposition to the removal of national powers to an unaccountable central committee; you can only see what your prejudices permit you to see - the unprincipled opposition of press barons. Yours is the sort of lazy bad faith which has cost the European project its public support over many years now.

Edward, suck it up – the French didn’t say no because of Rothermere or Murdoch. The Dutch didn’t say no because of Goldsmith. It is you, a midget Englander, who measures world affairs solely against your local preoccupations and prejudices (fired by Murdoch were you?). The French and Dutch opposed the treaty because of what it was and what it represented – a power grab by the unelected at the expense of the electorate itself. Given the choice the British will do precisely the same. That, of course, is the sole reason why you don’t want the British to have their say.


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